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June 2019

The Sinclair Betrayal by M J Lee

There is one family that genealogist Jayne Sinclair has been reluctant to investigate – her own. After discovering that the father she thought had died when she was a child is, in fact, still alive, old wounds are opened up. To compound the issue even further, she finds out that he is currently residing in prison after killing a civil servant in cold blood. Claiming that the life he took was an act of revenge for his mother’s betrayal during World War Two, Jayne must try to uncover the truth about her grandmother’s past in order to solve an age-old mystery.

From the beginning of the series, it has always been apparent that there was something interesting lurking in Jayne’s family history. Spurred on by her stepfather, who urges Jayne to find out about her past before it is too late, we are taken on an emotive journey back to World War Two where we discover the secret life of her French grandmother, Monique.

The action flips between two time frames – Jayne’s modern-day research and Monique’s life in World War Two as a member of the Special Operations Executive (SOE). The dual time frames work well together and I particularly like how we see Jayne discovering something during her research and then reading about the actual event during the war. Both time frames were as enjoyable to read as each other, and I found myself flying through the book, desperate to know what was going to happen next.

One of the things I enjoy most about books like this is the historical aspect and the chance to learn new things. Although I had previously read about the SOE, M J Lee paints a vivid picture of life for the operatives and there were some genuine ‘heart in the mouth’ moments when reading about the dangers these brave people put themselves in. The story was, at times, heartbreaking, especially when the fate of Monique was revealed and was made even more poignant when reading about the real-life women of the SOE and their tragic ends.

I have read all of the other books in this series but I think that this my favourite so far. If you have never read any of the Jayne Sinclair books before, I can heartily recommend them, although you do not need to have read them before reading this one – it can be read as a standalone.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

The Irish Inheritance

The Somme Legacy

The American Candidate

The Vanished Child

The Silent Christmas

 

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The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

After years on the throne of England, Elizabeth I, the daughter of Henry VIII, was the last of the Tudor monarchs. Or was she? With two more legitimate heirs, known only by a select few, the question of who will take control after Elizabeth’s death is a hotly-debated subject. Now Phillip II of Spain has discovered the secret and it is feared that he will use it to his advantage to claim the throne as his own.

Fast forward over 400 years, and Perdita Rivers and her twin sister, Piper, are ensconced in Castle Jerusalem in Andorra, after their research uncovered a new Tudor bloodline that certain agencies would kill to keep hidden. With their latest discoveries, the sisters are, once again, placed in danger. Is revealing the truth worth more than their own lives?

The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy is the second book in the Marquess House trilogy and follows on from The Catherine Howard Conspiracy. For this reason, it is advisable to read this series in sequence so you can fully understand the circumstances the Rivers sisters have found themselves in.

I really enjoyed the first in this series so was looking forward to reading the next installment. In this book, we spend more time in the past than The Catherine Howard Conspiracy, and this was understandable seeing as we already know Perdita and Piper and the reasons behind them being where they are. Both time frames are as intriguing as the other and I really enjoyed how the two parts were woven together.

As someone who is interested in Tudor history, I especially enjoyed the importance the author has placed on the women of the time, in particular the relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. At a time when the men in power were intent on war, I liked reading about the machinations of the Ladies of Melusine who were covertly discovering more about potential plots than those whose job it actually was! I think we have also been given a hint here as to something that may occur in the third book: Melusina, a female spirit of fresh water… Rivers… hmm…

In The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy, we read about an alternative take on the Tudors which, if true, would change the face of British history. The twist relating to the death of Elizabeth was definitely not one that I was expecting!

For fans of dual timeline stories, this is a great read. I am looking forward to reading the final part of the trilogy and seeing where Perdita and Piper’s research takes them next.

With thanks to Netgalley and Sapere Books for my copy.

**BLOG TOUR** The Home by Karen Osman

I am pleased to be part of the paperback blog tour for Karen Osman’s The Home. With plenty of 5-star ratings on Amazon, and with a previous book The Good Mother being such a fantastic read, this is definitely one to catch! It is my pleasure to be able to share a great extract with you.

 

 

It was the one place she should have been safe.

Angela was just a baby when she was abandoned, and a children’s home is no place to grow up. When manager Ray takes girls off to his ‘den’ in the garden, they always come back crying…

So, when wealthy couple James and Rosemary come to choose a child to adopt, Angela is desperate to escape.

Years later, Angela starts to search for her birth mother, Evelyn, hoping to heal the scars of her childhood. But strange and sinister events start to unfold. And Evelyn fears she may not survive her daughter’s return.

 

 

Angela

Angela squeezed herself onto the Tube, trying not to breathe in the smell of sweat from the bodies pressed up against her. This wasn’t where she wanted to be on the Friday night of the Summer Bank Holiday weekend, but her parents had invited her specifically. In fact, she had been slightly intrigued as to what may have prompted the invitation for her to spend the long weekend with them. Angela tried not to think too much about the Astoria nightclub. It would have been a brilliant night out and her friends had been talking about it for weeks. Angela wasn’t too bothered about the drugs, but she did like the music. When you worked in a stressful industry like law, you needed a release. Besides, she thought, she worked hard and she deserved a night out once every so often. Yet here she was, jammed on the Tube on the way to her parents’ home in Tetbury. It was a good two-hour journey from her office in central London and she was getting the 4.15 p.m. from Paddington, which had meant leaving work early. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been outside her law firm during working hours other than to grab a sandwich to eat at her desk. Normally, she’d be ensconced in her cubicle working at least a sixty-hour week, often going in on weekends as well.

Escaping the stifling odour of the underground at Paddington, Angela got on the mainline train, happy to have found a seat, and took a few moments to straighten her new Jaeger suit. The eye-catching shade of green was perhaps a little too much for the corporate environment of Kings Solicitors, but it went fabulously with her dark hair and she knew she pulled it off by the number of admiring glances she received. The tailored trousers and fitted jacket with shoulder pads were so flattering. Besides, she didn’t want to blend in with all the other associates in the office, and this was just one way to be remembered by clients and the senior partners. Satisfied with her appearance, Angela pulled out some papers from her bag and began to work.

*

Angela had her own key to her parents’ house, a pretty bungalow, built of traditional Cotswold stone, and as she let herself into her childhood home she inhaled the familiar aroma: a mixture of clean washing, fresh flowers, and the trailing scent of her mother’s Estée Lauder perfume.

It was a few moments before she became aware of the stillness. She was used to the television being on or her mum talking animatedly on the phone about one of her various committees. Leaving her key and overnight bag in the hallway, Angela walked curiously through to the living room. Her mum and dad were sitting next to each other on the sofa, holding hands, and talking quietly.

‘Hello, darling! We didn’t hear you come in!’ Her mum got up to embrace her and Angela gave her a perfunctory kiss on the cheek. Normally, she would drop down on the sofa, complaining about the journey, but there was something about her mum that evening that made her think twice.

Pre-order links:

 Amazon: https://amzn.to/2M50ma4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2LmFsya

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ErDoUc

iBooks: https://apple.co/2VZ8rRX

 

With thanks to Aria and to Vicky Joss for organising the blog tour.

**BLOG TOUR** Three by K J McGillick

Today, I am pleased to be one of the blogs opening the tour for Three, the latest book by K J McGillick. This looks like a thrilling one!

 

 

THREE: Deception Love Murder

Inviting a stranger into your home can be dangerous. Inviting a stranger into your life can turn deadly.

 How would you feel if you discovered your death was meticulously planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why. All you could do was wait.

Emma has it all-a job she loves and a man who professed to love her.

Or did she? How could she be so blind?

When her lover’s car is found burned and abandoned in another state, the police come asking some hard questions. What she discovers upends her world completely. Jude had been living a double life right under her nose. A deceitful life, a treacherous life. Who was this man that had already groomed another woman to take over Emma’s life? A woman who was Emma’s body double and now dead.

Why had she so easily trusted this psychopath with her heart? Betrayed on every level, consequences not of Emma’s making were nipping at her heels. Tick. Tock.

THREE is a gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked. A fast-paced psychological thriller that has been compared to the works of Dan Brown. It can be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the Path of Deception and Betrayal series.

 

 

“If you can convince me I am in possession of stolen property, I will consider more carefully allowing a search without a warrant. I don’t want anything to do with stolen goods. But I didn’t hear anyone say anything about stolen property. All I heard Detective Chavez say was these are two paintings in question that may have been lawfully acquired by Jude and as far as we know there is nothing illegal in their ownership. For some reason, Jude may have them in his possession, and as far as I can tell that is not illegal. Jude is a lot of things, but I can’t say I ever thought of him as a thief. So, no to a search,” I responded.

“Then we will be leaving. Thank you for your cooperation. Please call us if you need anything further. We shall inform the agent you will be by the bank to check your box tomorrow,” Chavez said.

“Again, technically it’s not my box, but I will do it. If we’re done here, I think our food delivery is here. You better step out of the way once Lucy realizes food has arrived,” I suggested as I corralled everyone toward the door.

I hadn’t heard Aunt Mary leave the room while I was speaking to the detectives and had started to escort them to the door, but she must have left. As I reached for the door to open it for the food delivery, she marched in the room blustering. I knew with one look she was out of control. It was my mistake. I had overlooked her evening dose of her prescription in the craziness of the day.

Aunt Mary stood wearing her yellow raincoat and pink wellies, carrying a black umbrella in one hand and hairspray in the other ready to fend off any enemies.

“So, you boys are the law?” she thundered. “Well, that’s good. Really good. You finally caught up with the two of them?”

If her outburst weren’t so embarrassing, I would have burst out laughing watching the detectives. Chavez’s jaw gaped wide. Detective Marino looked alarmed, taking a full step backward with his hand ready to un-holster his weapon.

Chavez, who seemed to have composed himself, spoke first. “Ma’am, would you mind placing the umbrella and hairspray on the table? We are here to talk to your niece and mean no one any harm.” I could tell he had hostage negotiation skills or cared for a family member with dementia by the way he spoke to her.

“So, you aren’t here to arrest her communist boyfriend? Everyone knows he carries on with the Russians. Started with the cold war. They got him when he was still a baby, and now he spies for them. They don’t think I hear them outside down by the dock at night. They think I’m some old lady off in dreamland. But I’ve been biding my time until the law came knocking and here you are. Do you want to take my statement? If so, I don’t want Emmie implicated in this. She gets full immunity. If you give her immunity, then I will be your prime witness. Dirty commie. I haven’t seen it around, but I bet he subscribes to the Daily Worker. And he speaks fluent Russian to them, the bastard.” She snapped the umbrella toward the window and motioned toward the boat dock.

 

 

J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

https://www.goodreads.com/Kmcgillick

With thanks to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour.

 

**BLOG TOUR** Forget My Name by J S Monroe

Arriving at the airport to discover that her bag has been stolen, her passport, purse and key all gone, she tries to report it to the authorities but there is one huge problem – she can’t remember her name. The only thing that seems familiar is her home so that is where she heads, hoping that will help to trigger some more memories. Arriving at the door, however, she discovers a couple, Tony and Laura, living there and they have no recollection of her ever being there. Someone is lying, but who?

This is definitely one of those books where you cannot predict what is going to happen! Our lead character ‘Jemma’ is the ultimate unreliable narrator, her stress-related amnesia causing her to forget most of what has happened in her life with the exception of some rather important events. From the start, I didn’t know how I felt about her, unsure as to whether she was genuine or whether this was part of some elaborate scam. At the same time, I had great concern for her and hoped that she wasn’t allowing herself to become manipulated by another of the characters. My conflicting opinions of ‘Jemma’ continued throughout the book until we finally realise exactly what is happening. This kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, making it a very interesting reading journey.

From the outset, I had my concerns about Tony and Laura. If someone came to my house, claiming to live there, the last thing I would do would be to invite them to stay! It was obvious that there was something much bigger happening here, but what? Like ‘Jemma’, my opinions of Tony fluctuated throughout the book: was he genuine in his attempts to help her or was there something darker at play?

As I wrote earlier, it is impossible to predict what is going to happen in Forget My Name, although there were a few smaller points I did pick up on. There are a few red herrings thrown in along the way to help muddy the waters, meaning that I constantly found myself changing theories. I was shocked by what was revealed and immediately saw how clever one of the characters had been throughout the whole book.

Forget My Name is a clever book with a very novel plot, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

With thanks to Vicky Joss at Head of Zeus and Netgalley for my copy.

 

 

 

**BLOG TOUR** What Nobody Knew by Amelia Hendrey

Abandoned by her mother at the age of three and left with her violent father and stepmother, Amelia had what can only be described as a horrific start in life. What Nobody Knew is the author’s own heartbreaking story, from her incredibly traumatic beginnings to her brave survival and, hopefully, happier life.

First of all, I need to start by saying that due to its content, this book may not be for everyone. Dealing with subjects such as child and domestic abuse, rape and abandonment, What Nobody Knew is a harrowing and, at times, difficult read. It’s not, however, sensationalised in any way, and is an honest account of the author’s upbringing.

Throughout the book, I had overwhelming feelings of anger directed towards the adults in Amelia’s life. She truly had no one to turn to and was let down constantly by those who had the power to do something about what she was enduring. Her numerous injuries, some of them requiring hospital visits, should, surely, have had the alarm bells ringing and yet this poor child continued to stay in the family home with those who were responsible.

What I found most fascinating about this book was the inclusion of actual documents from when concerns had been raised. This helped to highlight how little had been done for this child, the authorities seemingly intent on placing the blame firmly with the child rather than investigating the true cause of her behaviour and injuries. The more I read, the more frustrated and angry I became – how could they let this happen?

Being taken away from the family home can be traumatic for any child, but in her case, this provided one of the few high points for Amelia. Boarding school gave her the opportunity to live life as a ‘normal’ child and it was heartwarming to see her developing a close friendship with one of the other girls, doing things that girls her age would do. Of course, this couldn’t last, and it was devastating to think that she was send back to her home, and her abusers, each school holiday.

You would be forgiven for thinking that these events happened a number of years ago, but it is shocking to see how recently this all occurred. Neglect like this should never be allowed to happen again and I applaud the author for having the courage to tell her story.

With thanks to Amelia Hendrey and to Sarah Hardy from Book On The Bright Side Publicity & Promo for organising the blog tour.

Salt Lane by William Shaw

DS Alexandra Cupidi can’t get the image of a dead woman out of her head so when the body of a man is discovered, drowned in a slurry pit, she fears that there could be a connection. The man, it is determined, was a fruit picker from North Africa and soon the detective is investigating immigrants in the local area and the lives they are living. With a killer out there, and the local people not too keen on answering her questions, Alex faces an uphill and dangerous battle to find out what is going on by the Kent coastline.

I had heard great things about William Shaw but had never got round to reading any of his books. As I was due to attend an ‘Evening with…’ event where he was sharing the billing with the wonderful Elly Griffiths, I decided to bump Salt Lane up my TBR list and I am so glad I did!

Alexandra Cupidi is a fascinating character and I can see why William Shaw decided to write a series around her. (She appears in another book, The Birdwatcher, but it is not essential to have read this prior to Salt Lane). After leaving her previous post under a bit of a cloud, she has found herself in Dungeness, its bleakness a direct contrast to what she was used to in the Met. In Alex, we see a woman at odds with her mother whilst experiencing a less than perfect relationship with her daughter. Alex’s daughter, Zoe, is one of the many strengths in this book. Not exactly your typical teenager, it was refreshing to see a young character written in such a positive way.

Salt Lane deals with the very topical issue of immigration, in particular those arriving into the country illegally and the conditions in which they have to live their lives. In a climate where this is such a divisive issue, the author paints a very sympathetic picture of their plight, highlighting the dangers faced by these people who are just trying to have the chance of a better life. The story is, at times, incredibly emotive, as we read about these ‘hidden’ people, unable to work legally and so are reliant upon jobs that are tantamount to modern day slavery. The fate of one of these characters, in particular, had a huge impact on me and really brought home how vulnerable they were.

This is a fantastic start to a new series, and I am already looking forward to reading its follow-up, Deadland. Incidentally, William Shaw’s event with Elly Griffiths was superb and if you get the chance to attend something similar, I highly recommend it!

The Ghost of Hollow House by Linda Stratmann

The year is 1872 and Mina Scarletti has been invited to Hollow House in Sussex to investigate the strange occurrences that have been troubling its occupants, Mr Honeyacre and his wife, Kitty. With the servants refusing to stay at the house due to sightings of ‘the woman in white’ and unexplained noises, the health of Kitty Honeyacre is beginning to deteriorate. Confirmed sceptic, Mina, knows that with the assistance of her trusted friends Dr. Hamid and Nellie, she can solve the mystery of Hollow House.

The Ghost of Hollow House is the fourth in the Mina Scarletti series and, while it does make references to previous events, it can definitely be read as a standalone. For anyone who hasn’t been introduced to Mina before, she is not exactly your average Victorian heroine. Afflicted with a severe curvature of the spine, the diminutive protagonist has accepted that, unlike most women of her status, she will never marry and have children. She, therefore, has carved out a career writing ghost stories under a male nom de plume, spending her spare time uncovering fraudulent spiritualists.

It was during this era that spiritualism became big business and Linda Stratmann has painted a vivid picture of life at this time. Hollow House is the perfect setting for a ghost story with its mysterious history and cast of characters with secrets to hide. The tension is ramped up even further when bad weather forces the house to be cut off from the rest of the outside world and the strange happenings continue to terrify those in residence.

Mina, once again, encounters her nemesis, spiritualist Arthur Wallace Hope, who brings with him a Mr Beckler, a photographer keen to capture images of spirits. They are a nefarious pairing, Beckler in particular making my skin crawl with his intentions towards Mina. It is also obvious that another character, Mr Stevenson, is not who he says he is, adding to the mistrust and suspicion in the house.

I enjoyed trying to solve the mystery and there are certainly clues to help you along the way. Mina is very impressive in the way she handles the case and I thought the retelling of the story at the end, written by her nom de plume was a great way of ending the book. A great read!

With thanks to Caoimhe O’Brien and Sapere Books for my copy.

 

**BLOG TOUR** Bold Lies by Rachel Lynch

When the body of a man is found in the Lake District, DI Kelly Porter is shocked when connections are made to the murders of two scientists in a secret laboratory in London. With a case involving the upper echelons of society, Kelly finds herself back on familiar territory when she heads to the capital to assist in the investigation. Reunited with her ex, and the reason she left the Met, DCI Matt Carter, Kelly finds herself in the midst of a challenging case where it is difficult to determine who to trust.

Bold Lies is the fifth in the Kelly Porter series and is very different to the previous books, with the action moving away from the Lake District for much of the novel. We also see a very different plot from what we are used to, dealing with crime involving those with the finances and contacts to do what they want. Those involved in the conspiracy are a truly horrible bunch and it was good to see the detectives slowly tighten the net, even though those involved thought they were untouchable.

Circumstances helped us to see a completely different side of Kelly in Bold Lies. Usually driven by her work and focused on the task in hand, we got to see a more vulnerable side when she returned to her mother’s house to sort out her belongings. I love the relationship she has with Ted and can see how vital he has been to help her with the grieving process.

In previous books, we learned how Kelly left the Met after she was betrayed by a colleague, and we finally get to meet Matt, her former boyfriend and man responsible for her relocation to the Lakes. Matt is not a likeable character and I could understand Kelly’s reluctance in wanting to spend too much time with him. I loved her partner Johnny’s reaction when she told him about her history with Matt, and almost wish he had followed through with his threat!

I’m really enjoying this series although, like Kelly herself, I am glad that she has returned to the Lake District as that is where she belongs! I look forward to seeing her back among the lakes and fells investigating her next crime.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for my ARC and to Ellie Pilcher for organising the blog tour.

Take a look at my reviews of the rest of the series:

Dark Game

Deep Fear

Dead End

Bitter Edge

 

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